It’s been a while since I last posted and even though I’m the only one who reads this I feel the need to account for the 5+ months. It’s mainly been work with some cool travel interspersed. So here are some highlights.
March 30th was my 9yr anniversary at Mozilla. I’ve been working on all things related to search for the last 16 months. Nothing much has been released in Firefox yet but we just spent our All Hands week in Whistler planning out all the cool stuff we’re going to build the second half of this year. Also, I got to make these cool videos for the plenary. It was so much fun.
Over the spring I got to visit some pretty beautiful places. First we visited the Grand Canyon. I hiked all the way down and back up in one day with some friends. It was amazing. Then we went to Zion. It looks like some kind of fantasy Leonardo da Vinci landscape. Also amazing. Then it was another trip to Big Bend were we did the South Rim trail and then gazed at stars. Finally, we spent our anniversary and my birthday in Maui. More amazing.
It’s been quite a while (January!) since I posted an update about the onboarding work we’ve been doing. If you’ve been using Nightly or read any of the Photon Engineering newsletters, you may have seen the new user tour we’re building but onboarding encompasses much more than that and we shipped some important pieces in Firefox 55 today.
The experiment we ran back in February (along with a follow up in May) went really well*. We had 4 important successes:
The changes to the installer resulted in 8% more installs (that’s unheard of!).
We retained 2.4% more of the people who went through our new experience. (combined with the installer change that means 10.6% more people using Firefox).
Ratings for the new flow were on par with ratings of the existing flow. In addition, in user research, participants responded positively to the art on the new download page and installer and some were delighted by the animation on the firstrun page.
I thought it was really cute. Especially the little sunrise at the beginning. That was precious. I thought it was kind of ingenious. It kind of implied that you’re using a product that’s pulling you into the light. Something like that. It was a cute little interactive feature which I really enjoyed.
– Research participant
Changing the /firstrun page to a sign in flow instead of a sign up flow resulted in a 14.8% increase in people ending up with second device connected to sync (which is the whole point of sync).
So today with Firefox 55 we shipped a new streamlined installer, we moved the default browser ask to the second session and we now open the privacy notice in a second tab instead of displaying a bottom notification bar. These changes join the new download and firstrun pages that shipped 2 weeks ago.
Here’s a quick video of Firefox 55 in action.
It is not an easy feat to build a whole new flow that cuts a swath across internal organizations and I’m incredibly proud of the work our team did to get here. And there’s a lot more to come (like that new user tour) that I’ll outline in another post.
*We weren’t able to properly test the automigration feature (automatically importing your stuff from another browser) back in February because of underlying performance issues that we discovered in the migration tool. We fixed many of the performance issues with migration but a subsequent test revealed that they haven’t all been fixed. Sadly, in a flow where we do this silently, some people just experiences a janky, slow Firefox. So we’re not going to ship automigration for now and instead we’re going to replace the modal import wizard on startup with a non-modal message embedded in Activity Stream beginning in Firefox 57.